The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden is open daily and free to enjoy.
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, designed by internationally acclaimed landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, is free for all to enjoy.
As well as Stuart-Smith’s distinctive planting, there are outdoor sculptures by Sir Michael Craig-Martin, Barbara Hepworth and Kim Lim.
Tom Stuart-Smith’s design draws inspiration from its unusual setting between 19th-century red-brick mills and a 21st-century art gallery, edged by the River Calder. It echos the striking, angular shapes of the David Chipperfield-designed gallery while harnessing a naturalism that reflects Barbara Hepworth’s deep connection to the landscape.
Find out about the story of The Hepworth Wakefield Garden here.
Sculpture in the garden
Ascending Form (Gloria), 1958
Wakefield Permanent Art Collection (The Hepworth Wakefield), Donated by Eric and Jean Cass through the Contemporary Art Society 2010
The two diamond shapes in Ascending Form (Gloria) can be seen as representing natural forms, with the one growing organically out of the other, or as a reference to hands coming together in prayer.
One of her most frequently recurring subjects was the standing form, which she related to the feeling of a human figure in the landscape.
Pitchfork (Yellow), 2013
Sir Michael Craig-Martin
Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian
This 4m yellow pitchfork stands tall amongst the trees in the garden. It is taken from a series of giant and brightly coloured painted steel sculptures that resemble commonplace objects.
Appearing like drawings in the air, Craig-Martin’s deceptively simple sculptures pose questions about the role that objects play in our everyday lives.
Hear Michael Craig-Martin describe his sculpture in this short film.
Kim Lim (1936–1997)
Acquired with the support of the Contemporary Art Society, 1983
This work, Day, which is made from painted steel, was conceived as an outdoor sculpture. The tall arch not only acts as a sun dial casting shadows to gauge the time of day and year, but its elongated form and curved crest echo the elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun.
The acquisition of Day into Wakefield collection in 1983 was prompted by Lim’s close alignment with the sculptural ethos of Barbara Hepworth, as both artists shared a mutual concern for the relationship between abstraction and the landscape.
Gabriel Reaching for Heaven, 2022
A major new commission by Sheila Hicks
To coincide with Sheila Hicks’ first major UK retrospective, we have commissioned Hicks to create a new outdoor sculpture for our garden. This five-metre-tall column entitled Gabriel Reaching for Heaven, 2022 is made from a cascade of coloured cords.
Since the 1970s, Hicks has exhibited her work outdoors in both urban and rural settings that include the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, Paris and the High Line in New York. Hicks’ commitment to engaging with the public realm has been expanded through her work with innovative textile producer Sunbrella to develop weather resistant fibres. Hicks’ outdoor works push pigmented fibres to their physical and conceptual limits, creating soft architectural inventions in form and vivid colour.
In bloom - October/November
Also known as the staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina is a shrub that originates from North America. The youngest branches are covered in fine silky velvet, just like the antlers on a young stag and hence it gains its name. It is a beautiful plant with fiery scarlet leaves in autumn. Rhus is known for sending up vigorous new shoots from its root system and we keep these suckers in check by cutting them off annually. Rhus is dioecious meaning that male and female flowers occur on separate plants.
Also known as Turkish sage, this herbaceous perennial, has yellow flowers in summer. By autumn the seedheads set into a dark brown tone and stand sculpturally all winter long, until we cut them down in the early spring. Phlomis can be a vigorous plant when it is happy and enjoys a sunny site and free-draining soil.
This perennial grass loves to grow in the driest areas of our garden, it has feathery golden flowers which bring warm tones to the planting from mid-summer and look beautiful swaying in the wind – a perfect backdrop to the dark Echinacea pallida seedheads.
Many visitors have been asking what are the red stems within the planting? These are the autumn colours of the herbaceous perennial Euphorbia palustris, which has zesty green leaves in the summer and big yellow flowers, before becoming vivid scarlet in October. The stems dry as winter progresses into a brown colour and we will cut them back in February ready for the new shoots to emerge.
Diary of a Cultural Gardener
Help Katy care for The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
We have transformed a strip of unused land into a beautiful flower-filled garden, free for all to enjoy. As a living composition, the Garden requires daily care and attention to ensure it remains an urban oasis for everyone.
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